The New Saudi Arabia

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Xponential to open 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia

Time: June 19, 2019     

Xponential to open 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia

Xponential Fitness is to open more than 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia over the next three years.

In what is the US-based company’s first ever multi-brand international agreement, brands will include Club Pilates, Pure Barre, CycleBar, YogaSix and AKT.

The development will be led by Sultan and Mohammed Alhokair, owners of the newly-established First Agility Company.

“This is an ambitious and unprecedented fitness project for the Middle East, and we believe the Alhokair family and their team will be outstanding partners for Xponential Fitness,” said John Kersh, chief international development officer for Xponential Fitness. “The Saudi Arabian fitness market is poised for significant growth in the coming years, and we are excited for Xponential Fitness and our brands to play an influential role in its development.”

The Xponential Fitness expansion will begin with a five-brand flagship location in Riyadh, expected to open in October.

This article was first published in Arabian Business

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Saudi race driver Reema Juffali makes F4 debut

14/04/19

Reema Juffali made her debut as the first female race driver from Saudi Arabia at the F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend.

Juffali participated in the single-seater motorsport series based in the United Kingdom, driving for the Double R Racing team along with Louis Foster and Sebastian Alvarez.

“It’s been an honor to represent my country, coming into racing later in life means I have a lot more ground to cover in comparison to the other drivers. My goal this season is to improve race to race and be competitive enough to fight in the middle of the pack,” Juffali told Al Arabiya English.

The 27-year-old Northeastern University graduate made her debut competing in two-seater racing in October last year, just months after the ban on women driving was lifted in Saudi Arabia as per a June 2018 royal decree.

“I didn’t grow up around a racing culture and I struggled to imagine even driving a car in Saudi Arabia let alone representing my country as a female racing driver,” she said about women driving in the Kingdom.

“I used to think that racing was something you had to grow into from a young age, but after watching my first Le Mans race, I realized that some of the drivers were much older than me. That’s when I thought ‘why not?’ It’s not too late,” she added.

Juffali said that “one of the great things about motorsport is that women and men can compete against one another on an even playing field. Being the only woman amongst men has never affected me.”

“I’m quite a competitive person so it has actually pushed me to perform and prove my ability even more,” she added.

Juffali said it’s only the beginning of her journey. “I’m learning something new every day. For now, it’s about taking it step by step and making sure I develop my skills as a driver.”

“I love the feeling I get when I’m behind the wheel, that’s where I’m happiest, but more than that it’s the challenge that keeps me going,” she added.

This article was first published in  Al Arabiya English

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Al Arabiya English

Saudi female racer Reema Juffali set for F4 UK championship debut at Brands Hatch

Time: April 04, 2019  

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Trailblazing Saudi Arabian racing driver Reema Juffali is set to make her Formula 4 British Championship Debut at Brands Hatch in the UK at the weekend. (Jakob Ebrey Photography/Formula 4)
  • Juffali, 27, will be racing for defending champions Double R Racing
  • Juffali, on debut, was one of only three women in the GCC to hold a race licence

LONDON: Saudi Arabian racing driver Reema Juffali is set to make her Formula 4 British Championship debut at Brands Hatch at the weekend.

Juffali, 27, will be racing for defending champions Double R Racing with her teammates Louis Foster and Sebastian Alvarez.

Having made her debut in racing in October 2018, a few months after the Kingdom lifted the ban on women driving and started issuing licences in June of the same year, Jeddah-born Juffali said she was excited about the coming year ahead.

“In terms of being from Saudi Arabia, it’s such a great thing for me to do and represent my country,” she said, highlighting her pride at representing Saudi Arabia. She also thanked her family, friends and fans for their support thus far.

“It’s a great honor for me. It’s something I didn’t really think about until quite late in life, I want to say maybe about three or four years ago that I started thinking about the idea of racing. To be here today is quite unbelievable and to have done it in such a short space of time, I’m very grateful and happy about that,” she told the British F4 website.

“It’s a good time in Saudi to be doing such a thing and all the support I’ve gotten from friends, family, people I don’t even know, has been fantastic and it’s only been pushing me to do better.

“Brands Hatch is the heart of motorsport. It’s going to be a tough year in such a competitive championship, but I’m ready for the challenge,” she added.

Juffali, who studied in the US before moving back to the Kingdom, was announced as Double R Racing’s latest addition to the team in March – and having joined the UK-based set-up, she said: “I’m happy to be joining Double R Racing, a championship-winning team with such a great history, and to be competing in British F4 where many great drivers have started.”

Juffali was one of only three women in the GCC to hold a race licence on her debut and the first Saudi female to compete in the TRD 86 Cup at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Team principal Anthony Hieatt said: “We’re really looking forward to working with Reema in British F4 this year and delighted she’s joined Double R for her first full season of racing at any level.

“I know there’s a huge amount for her to learn – the car, the style of racing and all of the British tracks which are very unique – but Reema has shown a great deal of promise already.

“It’s fantastic to be working with someone who is breaking down barriers as Reema is, and has been over the past few months, since she decided to start racing.”

The F4 championship is a multi-event, open-wheel single seater championship held at various racetracks across the UK between April and October.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi camel racing no longer an all-male affair, says Princess Jamila

Time: March 23, 2019  

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Camel racing in Saudi Arabia will no longer be a purely male domain. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • Princess Jamila’s camel will compete in a race marking the conclusion of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival
  • King Salman will attend the grand finale of the 46-day event

JEDDAH: A camel owned by a woman will compete in an official race in Saudi Arabia for the first time, a senior figure in the sport said on Friday.

Fahd bin Hithleen, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Camel Club and the newly appointed president of the International Camel Organization (ICO), said the race is part of the closing day of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, which began on Feb. 5 and ends on March 23.

“The camel race will end this Saturday with the participation of the first female in camel racing,” Hithleen said on his official Twitter account. “I congratulate Princess Jamila Bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz for breaking into the camel world and wish her all the success.”

The festival finale will take place in the presence of King Salman.

Princess Jamila said that camel racing is no longer exclusively the preserve of men, as the ongoing reforms in the country continue to empower Saudi women and open up new opportunities for them across the Kingdom.

The Kingdom established the ICO, the first global group of its kind for camels, on Thursday with the participation of representatives from 96 countries. Riyadh was chosen as the location for its headquarters and Hithleen was appointed to serve a five-year term as its first president.

This article was first published in Arab News

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KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

Time: March 19, 2019  

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photo)
  • Young Saudi triumphant at Open International Tournament despite just two years of training
  • Zahra Al-Qurashi took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi

JEDDAH: Zahra Al-Qurashi never expected to be where she is today: A gold medal winner in full contact kickboxing at the Open International Tournament for Clubs aged just 21. What started out as a gym class two years ago soon turned into a passion, leading to her victory in Amman on Sunday.

“I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym. I found the class and gave it a try, and decided to keep attending the classes,” she said. “A year ago, I joined Flagboxing Gym, and started training with my coach Grethe (Kraugerud). With her help, I developed my style and I am improving every day.”

Full contact is a discipline of kickboxing where punches and kicks must be delivered to legal areas of the body. According to the World Association for Kickboxing Organizations’ rules, it is legal to attack the front of the head and front and side of the torso, using “ankle-level foot sweeps.” It is prohibited to attack the throat, lower abdomen, back, legs, joints, back of the head and top of the shoulders.

A medal at her first international competition, then, speaks volumes about Al-Qurashi’s tenacity. She took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi.

“As soon as I entered the ring, everything went blank, I couldn’t hear or see anyone but my opponent, so I don’t really recall hearing my name even,” said Al-Qurashi. “I got a couple of really good kicks and punches, but she was a good opponent. I was in my own zone though, following every move and made sure I didn’t make mistakes.”

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photos)

Hala Al-Hamrani, the owner of Flagboxing Gym in Jeddah, said: “I am over the moon. I have dreamt about this happening for 16 years, ever since I started coaching. My goal was to eventually provide the ladies of this country with an opportunity to compete.”

For approximately two months, Kraugerud, from Norway, oversaw Al-Qurashi’s workouts, adding more sparring, interval training and intense ring practice.

“I’ve had Zahra spar with men, who are bigger and stronger than her, to give her a sense of what to expect in the ring, to give her more confidence and make her mentally prepared,” said Kraugerud. “I was very proud of her as she entered the ring, you could see the respect for the sport reflected in her. We did a really good job at Flag, we really pushed for this together as a team. She’s young, but she’s talented and she will go far.”

Al-Hamrani, a member of the Saudi Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation, added: “We got her ready by providing her with the right practice and training. It’s a dream come true and it’s very overwhelming because it was such a long process for something like this to happen. Zahra is an up-and-coming athlete who hopefully has a long future and I’m extremely excited to see what that future holds.”

Abdul Aziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, hailed the result after a tough bout between the two competitors, and thanked Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority, for the support he had given to the team.

Upon returning to her hometown of Jeddah, Al-Qurashi was greeted by her mother. “I was hugging her and crying and mom, being mom, asked if I was crying because I got hit,” she laughed. “That was her way of saying: I’m proud of you.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Jeddah to play host to Basket Ball World Championships in October

Time: March 18, 2019   

RIYADH – A contract for the Kingdom to play host the Basket Ball World Championships for “Cities 3X3”, in mid-October, was signed here on Monday, Saudi Press Agency said.

The signing ceremony was in the presence of Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee; Abdulrahman Al-Massaad, president of the Saudi Basket Ball Federation and the First Vice President of the Basket Ball World Federation Ignacio Andreas.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal said that the championships will be held, in Jeddah governorate, in October, pointing out that such a move is a preliminary step to host more prestigious world championships, in future, so as to cement the Kingdom clout, on the world sports’.

Meanwhile, the First Vice President of the Basket Ball World Federation Ignacio Andreas expressed thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Basketball Federation to host the Basket Ball World Championships for “Cities 3X3”. He expressed confidence about the Kingdom’s success in hosting the event due to the capabilities and potentials it possesses.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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Saudi Arabia win first gold medal at Kickboxing Championship in Jordan

Time: March 18, 2019  

Zahra Al-Qurashi, the Saudi mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, took gold in the women’s 70 kg kickboxing category at the Open International Tournament for Clubs in Amman. (SPA)

AMMAN: Zahra Al-Qurashi, the Saudi mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, took gold in the women’s 70 kg kickboxing category at the Open International Tournament for Clubs in Amman, after beating local competitor Heba Abdul Jalil on Sunday.
The competition kicked off on Saturday in Jordan. Al-Qurashi won the gold medal after defeating Jordanian fighter Heba Wasfi.
Al-Qurashi expressed her pleasure at winning her country’s first gold medal in the sport, stressing the difficulty of the fight with her Jordanian counterpart.
Abdul Aziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, hailed the result after a tough bout between the two competitors and commended the result and the support the sport receives from Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia wins 3 golds in powerlifting

Time: March 16, 2019   

Saudi basketball team
Ali Al-Qahtani — bronze in swimming
Hassan Al-Hadhariti — three golds

ABU DHABI — Saudi Arabia’s athletes continued to win multiple events during the Special Olympics World Games here Saturday.

Saudi Arabia’s Hassan Al-Hadhariti, 23, showed true strength at the powerlifting competition. He took home gold in combined squat, bench press and deadlift; gold in squat; gold in deadlift; and silver in bench press. His teammate, Nasser Aldawsari, 22, achieved bronze in squat.

Meanwhile, the Saudi men’s basketball team won against Finland 31-13.

Competing in Dubai, Ali Al-Qahtani, 30, clinched a bronze in the 50m freestyle swimming competition.

Hassan Al-Hadhariti said: “Powerlifting has taught me a lot about discipline and control. Now, winning these medals for the Kingdom has made me feel very proud.”

As the largest team ever to represent Saudi Arabia at Special Olympics World Games, 50 athletes — 21 female and 29 male — will participate in 10 disciplines throughout the event, including basketball, bocce, athletics, powerlifting, roller skating, swimming, triathlon, table tennis, bowling and unified sports. They were accompanied by a delegation including representatives from Special Olympics Saudi Arabia Federation (SOSAF), coaches, and healthcare professionals, as well as their family and more than 200 volunteers from Saudi Arabia. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will see more than 7,500 athletes from 192 nations compete in 24 sports from March 14-21.

Following the World Games 2019, Saudi Arabia Special Olympics Federation will continue to support Special Olympics athletes through a comprehensive ecosystem of programs, including athletics and physical activity coaching, healthcare, and more. — SG

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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Entertainment Village proves a huge draw

Time: February 02, 2019  

Entertainment Village at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

KAEC, Jeddah — The inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA, the first-ever European Tour golf event to be played in Saudi Arabia, is already proving a huge draw as a new wave of golf fans flock to see the action — both on and off the course.

Saudi nationals are descending on Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in thousands to get their first taste of the sport, cheer on the world’s best players and try the sport for themselves in the tournament’s fun-packed Entertainment Village.

The Entertainment Village has been a focal point for families throughout the week with live music, food trucks and a range of golf activities attracting the crowds. Men, women and children of all ages have turned up in their droves to try putting challenges and receive swing lesson from Zouhaier Jebri, the club’s head professional.

Hamza Hegazi, nine, and Layla Altelmissani, 15, are two youngsters who visited the tournament to see the sport being played by professionals then ended up trying it for themselves in the Entertainment Village. Layla, has now signed up for Royal Greens Golf & Country Club’s dedicated academy and the Saudi Golf Federation’s (SGF) Junior Development Program.

“I’ve been here every day since Wednesday,” said Layla. “I go to the World Academy in King Abdullah Economic City and we came for a field trip with the school. The activities are great fun and being able to watch the world’s best players is something we’ve been dreaming of — now it’s actually happening.”

Hamza added: “I’ve had a great time with my friends trying out the putting games. We are now members of the academy at Royal Greens. I hope I can play in this tournament one day.”

Another Saudi national trying golf for the first time was Zahra, a college tutor visiting the tournament from her home in Jeddah.

“I didn’t really know what golf was, but some of my students told me to come and I’m glad I did,” said Zahra. “It’s a new opportunity for Saudi Arabia and I wanted to come and support the country as well as the players. It’s a new experience for everyone and I wanted to be here to see what it was like. I will definitely be coming back next year.”

The strong level of public interest reinforces the Saudi Golf Federation’s vision to bring the European Tour to Saudi Arabia. With the main event generating huge interest, the Federation is leveraging that interest to grow the game of golf across the country.

“It was special to see so many people, male and female, of all ages, embracing the activities and showing an interest in golf,” said Majed Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation. “It’s extremely encouraging to witness how people have taken to the game. They are welcoming it with their hearts. We hope they share their experiences with their friends and family as we work together to grow this great game in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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SAGIA to partner with Saudi International golf tournament

Time: January 24, 2019

LONDON: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has announced its partnership with the Saudi International, the inaugural European Tour event to be held in the Kingdom.
The tournament will be be broadcast in over 45 countries across the world, reaching 450 million homes through more than 30 global broadcasters and sees big names such as Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose tee it up at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on the Red Sea coast.
“The sport and entertainment sector presents excellent potential for investors. Saudi Arabia has a large, young and affluent population with a growing interest in sports and government support and a wide range of regulatory reforms are opening more and more opportunities across the sector. Indeed, the Saudi International is the latest in a series of high-profile sporting events to take place in Saudi Arabia this year — including the Formula E Grand Prix and the Italian Suppercoppa,” Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said.
“As well as highlighting a sector with exciting potential for investment, The Saudi International also provides an opportunity to showcase a side of our country that many of those watching from around the world will never have seen before.”
The tournament, which begins next Thursday, is the final leg of the Desert Swing and arguably has the strongest field of the trio of Middle East events — the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and Dubai Desert Classic being the other two. Four of the world’s top five players in the rankings will be looking to win the inaugural championship, as well as Major champions such as Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia.

This article was first published in Arab News

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